Tomorrow is the big day. I have lost 140ish pounds...

Tomorrow is the big day. I have lost 140ish pounds from my highest weight and it is time for skin removal. I am 5'8" and fluctuate between 142 at my lowest to 150 (this morning). Dr. Erdmann at Duke University is doing the surgeon. He has encouraged me to do these three procedures all at once and I am a little scared of the potential pain involved but I have a great husband and hope to recover quickly!!

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I have had a breast reduction, a TT, and an arm lift, but all as separate procedures. The breast lift will give you the least amount of paing - hardly noticeable really. The arm lift and the TT were not painful at all for me, however, the loss of movement is VERY restricting....with both your arms and your core out of commission you will need someone to help you get up and sit down for about a week
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One day post op

So this is super painful = I am trying to remember that I am only 1 day out -- holy moly. I cannot tell my breasts were done but the tummy is killing me. The loss of movement in my arms is awful, but it will get better!!

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Compression Garments

I really want better compression for my sleeves. I feel sorry for my husband he is having go do everything!!

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You look beautiful! It will get better day by day! I'm so excited for you!
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That smile says it all. Your looking just beautiful. Just remember that the results will pay off. Thanks for your pics and story... I'm next for tummy tuck, Abdominalplasty sept 10th counting days... In my prayers sister for healing and recovery stay strong take meds and don't forget to eat healthy... Helps a lot.
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You're so sweet! Thanks for the kind works. Best of luck with your procedure!!

More Photos

I felt like looking at everyone else's pics was the most helpful - so I am going to try and keep them updated. I was a hot mess...

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Congrats!! Happy healing!
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Day 3 Post op Photos

I am three days out Breast lift, arm lift and tummy tuck. I am having weakness in my left arm which is bothersome.
No pain in my breasts at all. Coughing is rough and the vertical scar hurts the most. I take my pain meds every four hours still.

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Congratulations....what a fantastic weight loss & and already your body transformation is fantastic!!!!!.....I have lost over 155 lbs & on July 23rd had cercumfrential & vertical scar revision. Im almost at 6 weeks post op & feeling great....Im very interested in your arm lift & breast lift...my next surgery booked for Nov 19th I will have these two procedures done & im interested in how much lack of arm movment I will have & pain you are experiencing?...would you mind letting me know what you can & cant do?? lifting and so forth....any advise?? I look forward to your updates...
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Congratulations on your weightloss. I had a TT & BL 1 year ago, I found it pretty easy to recover, but I had no muscle distasis, or hernias ( the things that make recovery painful) no children/pregnancy.... I will say it was the most rewarding experience for me, I love, love my results! I'm 2 months away from having stage 3 (I had a face/neck lift 4 months later) my stage 3 includes thigh lipo and arm lift, and a back bra line lift. I'm most nervous about the arms, some reviews express that it's painful, some say just numbness, so it's hard to prepare for what to expect. But your arms already look skinny... So please keep us updated!!
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Thanks for sharing your journey and story your looking fabulous... I wish you healing and recovery goes very smooth with no complications. Just with awesome results, you deserve it.. After all that disclipine and hard work... Keep you in my prayers... I'm counting days, coming close here...
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4 days Post Op

Just in case your surgeon doesn't tell you ... don't get constipated!!! Yikes. Colace, Miralax - whatever it takes. The anesthesia will shut down your system and the narcotics don't help!!

Pain is better today. Left arm still weak. No pain in the breasts at all. Vertical scar hurts like a beast if I cough or laugh. Still taking pain meds - no reason to hurt here at day 4! Drains are still in place - two in the tummy. They are really no big deal. Will find out if they can come out tomorrow at my follow up. I am still getting about 80ccs from #2 and 50 from #1 -- so I doubt it.

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Am thinking about doing this; your arms look amazeballs!
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wow! I Love your arms! :) Amazing!
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You look great! Your arms are beautiful! I love mine.. It's a huge difference... Every day will get better and easier. Keep resting.
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6 Days Post Op

I had my follow up with my PS yesterday. He said that everything looks like it is supposed to so far. I asked about the weakness in my left arm and he was less than helpful. He had me move my arm in various positions and told me the three nerves that are involved with the procedure we all fully intact and he had no idea why my arm was weak. He then asked me if I wanted to go to a neurologist. It totally freaked me out. Luckily the nursing team swooped in and assured me that they had patients with weakness following the surgery due to the surgical positioning and they weren't worried. I will trust the nursing staff and give it more time before I worry that this is a permanent issue.

My drains were still putting out too much to warrant removal. I have been scheduled for follow up on the 8th and he will take them out then. I was really hoping to have them out before the weekend, but oh well. I have to do what is best for me. If they dry up before Friday I might put in a call to see if I can get them out sooner. So I still have 2 drains in my abdominoplasty. The area where the vertical and horizontal scar meet at my belly button looked a little red and angry, but he did not feel like this was an area of concern. I am taking the K-flex and had no fever.

He took the steri-strips off my breasts and my tummy and then replaced them. They did not change the ones on my arms.

I get super stiff when I sleep. I sleep on a recliner with pillows under my arms. It hurts my back. I really want to get back into my regular bed soon.

My goal for today is to take a real shower - even with the drains in, he said I could and just to make sure everything was dry before I put my compression back on. Three procedures at once is truly a pain, but I think in the long run I will be glad I bunched the recoveries all together.

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I'm happy to hear the nursing team made you feel better and I'm sure they are right. It was a lot of change to your arms and those nerves have to heal. Maybe it's best to keep the drains since you for want excessive swelling but I hear ya.,. They are a pain. You seem to be in good spirits and it won't be too long you will be back in your bed! Keep healing!!!
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Day 6 Post Op Photos

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I pray you do not have nerve damage. That woulda freaked me out to? NO one wants to hear that! But if it doesn't get better in time and you feel like you have waited long enough you should go. You know your body best. Happy Healing!
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One Week Post Op

I had a rough night last night. My back hurts from keeping my arms elevated and everything so still. I am still sleeping in the recliner.

I also received my Marena Compression garment and it did not fit. There was no compression in the arms and the breasts were too tight. I followed the measurement guidelines, but they wanted to charge me a 15% restocking fee. Luckily the guy at Marena waived it since I did enter my measurements on the website.

My surgeon said that I could wear an Under Armour shirt and a sports bra so it looks like a trip to Dick's is in order for tonight.

I am 4 inches bigger in my hips than I was pre op - so I am experiencing some swelling for sure. I know I am only a week out...I just hope it goes down so I have clothes to wear to work!

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You look wonderful. Beautiful skinny arms.
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First of all, " WOW ", you look great. I'm having extended bracioplasty and breast reduction and lift in about a month. I was wondering if you could tell me if you were able to do all your own bathroom toilet duties (cleaning yourself after using ). Was it extreamly painful to your arms if you cleaned yourself or did you need a significant other to help with that. Sorry so graphic, but I can't think of a more delicate way of asking for info regarding this? Again, you look wonderful. I had a tummy tuck ten years ago, yes, it's very painful, but sooooo worth it. Also, if anyone else has a list of must haves for after an extended bracioplasty and breast reduction/ lift, then I would love to read it so that I can prepare in advance. I had a vertical and medical thigh lift four months ago. I have posted some must haves for that procedure if anyone is interested.
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Thank you! I was able to go to the bathroom and do everything pretty much by myself from the beginning. I did need some help getting my pants down. I would recommend nightgowns. My husband helped me wash my hair. I am 9 days out today and washed and dried my hair myself. The arms are achy and sore if you bump the incisions. The breasts do not hurt at all. I am having weakness in my left arm from the position i was in during surgery. I am hoping that part gets better sooner than later!

10 days Post Op

Tomorrow is my next follow up with the PS and unfortunately these darn drains are not drying up. For the last three days I have been getting 20 out of #1 and 45-50 out of #2. So I am afraid he won't be able to remove them. Lord knows I do not want them to come out earlier than the should - but I have to get back to work.
I am proud to report I haven't taken any pain medicine since I took one 5mg oxycodone 12 hours ago. I am kind of delicate -- I also had a lot of swelling because I did entirely too much yesterday. I have tried to stay off my feet.
I am still having the weakness in my left arm but I really do think the tingling in my thumb is better. I am keeping a positive attitude!
I am not used to sitting around doing nothing. I hope I don't jeopardize my recovery by doing too much too soon just because I feel good.

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I will pray that weakness goes away in the left arm Keep up the positivity. :) It goes a long way.
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Thank you!
Wow, your arm scar is amazing. It looks like you are healing really well.
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11 Day Follow up with PS

Today was my 11 day post op visit. Today I was able to get only 1 of my drains out. I know it is for the best but I feel so gross with this think and dealing with the tube is a pain in the butt. He was like, oh you can go back to work next week just hide it under a sweat shirt. Well, first of all its 90 degrees outside and secondly I wear business attire to work...not sweatshirts, but whatever :-)
I also got the stitched out of my belly button and my nipples. It did not really hurt. Confession - I dosed up the pain medicine an hour before just in case!! No sense in hurting.

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Hi! Your arms look amazing, I'm hoping my results will be as good. I'm SO nervous about the decision to go through with full arm lift but have mine scheduled in one week (full brachioplasty that will extend to lateral chest wall). Your incisions look so good, is there anything special besides the strips you are putting on them? The one thing I am very self conscious about is the visible scar.
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At least you got 1 out :) 90 degree weather,i wish!! I HATE WINTER. Have a Good Night.
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YW!

Day 12 Photos

No pain medicine today! I slept in the bed last night for the first time instead of the recliner.

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12 days?! Your arms are healing so nicely. So happy for you.
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Your arms Healed very nice. You must be so HAPPY!
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Congrats!!! Omg, I love your arms!!!! Yay, amazing , absolutely amazing;)
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Day 13

I drove for the first time today!! Woo hoo. 13 days post op. I did WAY TOO MUCH so now I am swollen, achy and tired. Popped a couple of pain meds and got my feet up. Mentally it made me feel much better to rejoin the real world.
Drain #2 is still kickin' and producing what looks like 35-40cc's. Doc says I have to be at 15 or less to get it out. Bummer. I have to go back to work next week.
My stupid girdle is killing me so I decided to order one from Design Veronique based on the reviews I read here and elsewhere. The one I wanted didn't fit my dimensions, so I called them and he directed me to the High Back Rubanesque one. $159 - goodness. This thing had better do the trick. I will post a photo when I get it. Should be tomorrow.

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Aww thanks :-) I am pretty excited. I hated them SO BAD before ... I still just stare at them in the mirror marveling.
Lol heck, I would marvel too!!!

16 Days Post Op

I am completely over this drain. It bothers me when I sit down - walk around, I just can't get it somewhere comfortable. Can't wait for it to come out!
I am not sleeping well either. Mainly because I am only sleeping on my back. I accidentally rolled over last night and felt an awful searing pain in my right arm incision.
I bought a smaller compression band/abdominal binder from Walgreens and it is helping.
Doc said that I can wear a compression shirt, but my arms are so tiny I don't really get much tightness in the biceps. Oh poor me with my tiny arms ;-)
Well, that sounded like a lot of complaining! Maybe it's my anxiety of having to go back to work on Tuesday!!!

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You look AWESOME! Great job on losing and getting healthy :)
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You look Lovely and the arms look tiny as you said :) what great problem to have :)
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You could try buying a pair of little girls tights, cut off the toes and top, then use then as compressions. Just an idea that might help. They come in various sizes too. By the way, your arms look incredible. I'm having mine done in November. Hope mine heal as well as yours did. Feel better:)
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18 Days Post Op

I GOT THE DRAIN OUT!!!! Thank the good Lord. It has been out for 6 hours and I feel like a different person. She snipped two little stitches, asked me to take a big deep breath then pulled it out during my slow exhale. The only thing I really felt was the pulling of the stitches. The drain coming out did not bother me at all.
Everything thing is progressing as expected. I am going back to work tomorrow :( just 1/2 days this week - I wish I had more time to lay around. They told me it was important not to twist or lift.
Binder until next Thursday then I can switch to Spanx.
Followup with PS in 3 more weeks.

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Good luck tomorrow at work. :) Have a Good Night!
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Glad things are working out. Yay for being drainless! :)
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Thank you! Those are the worst.

20 Days Post Op - back to work

So I went back to work yesterday. UUUGGGHHHHH - it was only 1/2 day (well almost 6 hours) and it was too much. I learned why I had been sitting around the house - ha ha. The GOOD news is that I felt a lot better today. I was told to watch for a "water balloon" under my skin .... so I am ultra paranoid. At least I never feared fluid build up with the dreaded drain.

I am still experiencing numbness, fatigue, tingling and weakness in my left arm. It gets worse as the day goes on. I pray that it is not permanent. They tell me it will take time to recover, but it is hard to be patient.

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I found when I went back to work, I needed to work from home so that I could put in my hours, but alternate periods of activity with periods of rest....could you possibly work from home?
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No, unfortunately I do not have that luxury. I run a clinic and have patient contact - so that is hard to bring home :-) Today was a lot better than yesterday!!
You are healing nicely and arms are so thin,YAY! I do hope the numbness,tingling&weakness goes away. I ma sure it will by 6 months. Stay Positive.
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Three Weeks Post Op

Just posting my three week post-op photos!
I am super happy to report that I can sleep on my right side - so so happy. I am sleeping better. Still taking one pain pill before bed for good measure.

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Happy Thursday indeed. Cheers to Your Fab results!
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YW!

25 Days Post Op

I decided to call the plastic surgeon today because I felt like I had fluid to the right of my belly button. He confirmed my concerns but decided that the fluid was not significant enough to drain today. He thinks my body will reabsorb it. He looked at the necrotic spot (my Bermuda Triangle) and decided it would heal on its own and needs to basically stay drive. He also cleared me to fly to Vegas on business Wednesday. He did say to wear the binder 2 more weeks. Yay funsville. He said I could wear spanx TOO ... ha ha. Like I need another layer ;-)

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Your arms look fantastic! I had an arm lift 5 mo ago and I still have nerve problems in my right arm - a lot of numbness. Hoping your left arms gets better soon! Have fun in Vegas - one of my favorite places to go!!
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Thank you! I am pleased with the way my arms look so far. Healing is never fast enough. The left arm seems to be getting a little better. I had fun in Vegas. We rode the High Roller. Lots of fun!! Is your right arm weak too?
You look so great! I am considering an arm lift with my abdominal skin removal following weight loss. Just out of curiosity, do you know how long your surgery lasted?
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1 Month Post Op

Here it is 1 month later. I am sitting here in my binder - irritated at my swelling and tired of feeling abnormal. It is so important to remember that this surgery is in no way an isolated event. Recovering from the weight loss surgery or even my adult tonsillectomy was much easier than this. I really want to get back to exercise as I feel like I am losing ground and motivation. The last thing I want to do is sit around recovering and gaining weight back.

My left arm is still very weak and as the day goes by gets more numb. I really feel like it is getting better but it is such a slow process. Again - I am just looking for normal at this point.

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It is a LOOOOOOONG process...and at a month out, you still have a long way to go...(especially with the TT - not what you want to hear, I know...I have been there and thought the recovery process would never end...and 15 months later, I am still recovering in some ways - abdominal numbness). I will say that although you feel like you are losing ground in terms of your fitness, you will get it back really quickly once you are cleared to go back to activities.With the arm lift, I thought the 7 weeks I spent in sleeves would never end, but they did, and it was good that I did that - cause I have completely closed scars (even in the armpits), and in the 8 weeks I have been allowed to weight lift, I have TOTALLY SURPASSED where I was in terms of training prior to surgery....it comes back with a vengeance!!!!!!
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Thanks for your comment. That does make me feel better. I have been trying to be more mindful of my calories and try to add a bit more walking now. It is a thin line between over-doing it and maintaining a healthy activity level at this point!!
This is the part that doesn't really get talked about - how very FRUSTRATING it is to have been so active before and then have to be not so active for quite a few weeks after...it does drive people right up the wall - you certainly aren't the only one in that regard!!! And you are still healing - the scars on the outside are only one part - you can still be healing on the inside for months, and that healing will impact your activity level. I ran 8 miles two days before my TT, and it was 12 weeks afterward before I could lightly jog for 30 seconds...let me tell you, very frustrating. However, like I said before, once I got back at it, I was able to make gains very very quickly (the body has a great memory!) and have done things in the 15 months since my TT that I would never have thought possible before.... I haven't had any arm numbness with with AL, so keep a watch on that, but I do find that even 15 weeks out if I run late in the day, my arms get swollen and tight (very uncomfortable!).

5 Weeks Post Op Today

5 weeks out. I have started using NewGel silicone strips and scar gel now. This stuff is pricey but if it helps the healing I think it's with it. The strip was $65 and I cut it in various pieces. I tried to use it on my arms but they just move around too much and they would not stay on. So I use the strips on my belly and breasts. I got a tiny tube of silicone scar gel - $32... and layer up the arm scars twice a day. Still surprised how much the arm scars are tender if you touch them. I am supposed to get some blood drawn but there is NO WAY anyone is wrapping that rubber band around my arm!
The left arm numbness is almost gone. It still feels "different" in comparison to my right, but it is better. The weakness is still there for sure - but it is getting stronger.
The Bermuda triangle is still open. It is healing. It is just going to take time - I posted a picture.
My next follow up with the plastic surgeon is Tuesday. I am hoping he might clear me for some more vigorous exercise.

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I'm using that scar gel strips too. I didn't buy the gel from them. I probably should cause there seems to be no redness on your arm scars! Mine have some red by the elbows and under the arm pits. I had lymphatic massage and it helped my arm incisions so so much, they are flat and the knots and bumps are almost all gone. They are less tender too. I had to force myself to massage them and now I'm doing much better at it. You are looking so great! I'm excited and happy for you!
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My TT PS had me just use plain old bandage tape to flatten the TT scar, then I did three tubes of Kelocote silicone gel...it healed great! So yes, while inconvenient, it does work! Since you see your PS next week, you might want to ask your PS about using silver treated bandages to heal your "bermuda triangle"...silver is pretty standard wound care treatment, and it gets it to close completely and quickly. Likely your PS will clear you to return to walking or light elliptical cardio, but not running - at my 8 week follow up, my TT PS gave me the hairy eyeball when I suggested running and said "let's walk for a few weeks first" and indeed, it did take til week 12 for me to feel like my abdomen was not a bag of sand (just really heavy feeling) so that I could jog for 30 seconds (and that was while wearing compression garments!!!). I was cleared at 8 weeks for weights by my TT PS, and cleared for weights at 7 weeks by my arm lift PS, but I had to spend the first three weeks of that getting my range of motion back (and even now at 16 weeks post, I still have tight parts on the arm scars - it's still not entirely comfortable to stretch it out completely!) before I could think about getting back into real weight training. Be sure to let us know how the appointment goes!
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Thanks for your comment - makes me feel better. The PS did not want to put anything on the triangle - wants me to just keep it dry. My abdomen feels very tight at night too. I do not think he is going to clear me for much yet.

6 week (almost) PS follow up

I saw Dr. Erdmann again today. I will be six weeks out in 2 days, so close enough. Good news - the Bermuda triangle is healing nicely. He says to keep it dry and let it heal. I still can't swim, hot tub or soak in a tub - but I had none of that planned anyway. My left arm continues to improve. I am probably 90% better and we all expect a full recovery. I have now been cleared to do basically whatever I want as far as exercise. He said to take the lifting/running slowly and don't overdo it. Not a problem - I want to start off easy anyway.
As a true glutton for punishment I have tentatively scheduled my Butt Lift for April 23, 2015!!

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You must be a glutton for punishment because BBL's are NO joke! Most women i chat with there have a rough first month and can't sit for more than 6 weeks,one girl didn't sit for 4 months! That's crazy but the result is beautiful! I wish you all the best. Most fat transfers do not last more than 1 year and dolls go for round 2&3 and some skip straight to butt implants.
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Girl - I am NOT doing a Brazilian!! LOL - I am doing a "regular" butt lift to get rid of my leftover skin. Believe me I do not need to ADD any parts back there ;-)
Is it the same process?

6 Weeks Post Op

Nothing terribly new - officially 6 weeks out so I wanted to update my pictures.

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Thank you so much for your detailed account of all the surgeries that I anticipate I will need after I have finally lost the 120 lbs that I need to lose. I am in the process of making that happen but have a lot of anxiety about what my body will look like afterwards. I have loose skin already and know I will need those surgeries you had. I have a few questions for you, if you don't mind answering: 1) Why did you need to get a vertical incision for your TT? 2) How long after your weight loss did you decide to get the surgeries? 3) May I ask how much total did you pay for all the surgeries? 4) Is their financing available for surgeries like those? Thanks again for chronicling your story. You are healing so nicely.
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Happy to help ;-) I got the vertical scar because it made my stomach the flattest. I am married, done having kids and have no desire to show my naked belly to anyone - so I was not worried about the scar. The vertical incision allowed the doctor to take off the most skin and give me the flattest results. I achieved my goal weight in February and had my surgery in August. So I had been stable for 6 months. I paid $10,800.00 - Duke is very reasonable. I was quoted $11,000 at another office for just my arms. They do not have financing but did take credit cards. Many plastic surgeons accept care credit which has several plans offering no-interest financing for a period of time. Best of luck!
I really do like your arms and I can't see scars! YaY!
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Dr. Detlev Erdmann

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